"Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

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rocktupac
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"Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by rocktupac »

Hi all-

Just wondering what people thought of Graham Philips' book "Alexander the Great: Murder in Babylon" (or if anyone else has read it)?

I thought it would be an interesting read, but it actually was quite diasappointing. The first few chapters were intriguing, and the book seemed promising, but the next bunch of chapters were a huge let down. He sought to look at the 'murder suspects' and list he motives for each one. Instead, Graham Phillips used the the majority of the chapter on each 'suspect' to list their involvement with Alexander followed by a few half-motives. I say 'half' because most of his reasoning lacked substance. In my opinion the entire book, which could have proved to be a great piece of research/detective work, was quite a stretch.

Let me know what you all think...
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by marcus »

rocktupac wrote:Hi all-

Just wondering what people thought of Graham Philips' book "Alexander the Great: Murder in Babylon" (or if anyone else has read it)?

I thought it would be an interesting read, but it actually was quite diasappointing. The first few chapters were intriguing, and the book seemed promising, but the next bunch of chapters were a huge let down. He sought to look at the 'murder suspects' and list he motives for each one. Instead, Graham Phillips used the the majority of the chapter on each 'suspect' to list their involvement with Alexander followed by a few half-motives. I say 'half' because most of his reasoning lacked substance. In my opinion the entire book, which could have proved to be a great piece of research/detective work, was quite a stretch.

Let me know what you all think...
It's a load of old rubbish. Utter nonsense.

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Post by agesilaos »

I second Marcus' opinion, and add a note that Paul Doherty's 'Death of a God' is a similar farrago of poorly researched twaddle.
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Post by marcus »

agesilaos wrote:I second Marcus' opinion, and add a note that Paul Doherty's 'Death of a God' is a similar farrago of poorly researched twaddle.
Having read Phillips' nonsense, I decided I wouldn't waste my money on Doherty's - having read his novels about Alexander I was expecting it to be terrible. I did flick through it in the bookshop and ... yep ... poorly written, ill-researched, out-for-a-buck, with no historical merit.

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Post by Fiona »

I was the other way round - bought Doherty, didn't buy the Phillips. I would say one thing in favour of Doherty, though - I think it has geographical merit. He has an eye for terrain and a way of bringing places alive, so if you have a problem imagining what some of these places are like, it's probably worth a read.
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marcus wrote:
agesilaos wrote:I second Marcus' opinion, and add a note that Paul Doherty's 'Death of a God' is a similar farrago of poorly researched twaddle.
Having read Phillips' nonsense, I decided I wouldn't waste my money on Doherty's - having read his novels about Alexander I was expecting it to be terrible. I did flick through it in the bookshop and ... yep ... poorly written, ill-researched, out-for-a-buck, with no historical merit.

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Thought it poorly written

Post by jan »

:wink: I read both books also and found each highly suspect in terms of presentation. Neither were convincing. I prefer the ominous warnings of losing the hat in the river, being worn by someone who should not have done that, and the story of Roxanne trying to prevent Alexander from committing suicide in the river. Much more intriguing to me than this list of nefarious suspects who probably have no reason to be under suspicion.

Again, I wonder at the source of the above stories about the events that preceded Alexander's death as I find them likely to be concocted as dramatic devices also. I cannot believe that Alexander would ever have attempted suicide but it makes a good story.
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Post by agesilaos »

The source for the suicide bid is the Alexander Romance which is also preserved in the Liber de Morte, all these books use it as if it had real historical value simply because that is where the fullest story is to be found and despite their claims to be historians neither of this pair could tell his Arses from his Ennius.
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Post by Paralus »

I'm going to have to write it again:

Paralus - I wish I'd have written that Agesilaos.

Agesilaos - You will Paralus; you will.
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by jan »

I just found Murder In Babylon at the Half Priced Bookstore where I read through it again. Not sure about my earlier post now that I have re read this interesting book which cocludes that strychnine is the cause of death, that it could only come from India, and only one person had been in India to obtain the said poison.

I am still wondering where it is that Graham Phillips obtained so much of his anecdotes about each of the suspects in this case. I rather imagine that most of this is fictitious, but his conclusion as to the person who actually murdered Alexander is fascinating to me. I won't reveal it, but I did read a lot of reviews at Amazon pertaining to the book in which a few seem ready to accept this conclusion based upon the oft told story about Alexander's losing his immortality. I suspect that line alone gave Graham Philips his cause for suspicion.

Again, I would not waste even $8.00 for this book about the cause of Alexander's death.
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by Jeanne Reames »

IMO, Alexander died of a communicable illness exacerbated by a combination of war wounds ill-healed and grief. Nothing terribly exciting. It's a sort of prosaic end for a world conqueror, ha. Reminds me of the poem "Ozymandais" by Shelley. ;>

If somebody wanted to write a really good Macedonian murder mystery, they should do Philip. I've tried to talk Beth Carney into it. :-D I find her solution the most likely, plus she's a good writer (her husband is fiction author/poet, as I recall). She could do it well, I suspect. Besides, her solution (it was a solo job based on tîmê [honor] offended, much like other honor-murders including Harmodaios and Aristogeiton) would make an interesting "anti-resolution": we knew the murderer all along. :-D
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by Paralus »

Jeanne Reames wrote:IMO, Alexander died of a communicable illness exacerbated by a combination of war wounds ill-healed and grief. Nothing terribly exciting. It's a sort of prosaic end for a world conqueror, ha. Reminds me of the poem "Ozymandais" by Shelley. ;>

If somebody wanted to write a really good Macedonian murder mystery, they should do Philip. I've tried to talk Beth Carney into it. :-D I find her solution the most likely, plus she's a good writer (her husband is fiction author/poet, as I recall). She could do it well, I suspect. Besides, her solution (it was a solo job based on tîmê [honor] offended, much like other honor-murders including Harmodaios and Aristogeiton) would make an interesting "anti-resolution": we knew the murderer all along. :-D
Agreed on the death of Alexander. Human nature doesn't change and the conspiracy theorists were quick to papyrus 2,300 years ago. And yes, Elizabeth Carney could do a very good job of a novel on Philip's murder. Lord knows Elizabeth has spent enough time "inside" Olympias' head to hazard a good guess! (she could contribute much to the current discussion over her murder)
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Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by agesilaos »

She certainly could not do worse than 'A Murder in Macedon' by Anna Apostolou (the execrable Doherty under a pen name, confuses Thrace and Thessaly in this one :lol: ) Cannot really call Olympias death a murder, she was condemned by the only legal apparatus in the State after all, a judicial lynching, perhaps, rather than an execution, it was not that neat.

Philips' book is dunny fodder, what he does not make up, he attributes to the wrong character just to satisfy his Poirotesque, he might have done better to go for straight fiction.

edited because I forgot: Jeanne it cannot have been a 'solo job'; Pausanias had accomplices waiting with horses when he was run down by Perdikkas et al.
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by Jeanne Reames »

agesilaos wrote:edited because I forgot: Jeanne it cannot have been a 'solo job'; Pausanias had accomplices waiting with horses when he was run down by Perdikkas et al.
I meant solo in that it wasn't a conspiracy. He may have had some personal help, but I agree with Beth, and think it was an honor killing. Fits the pattern. Conspiracies are tougher. If it was a conspiracy of any kind, my money would be on Amyntas Perdkka behind it. He had the most to lose, but I'm not convinced.
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by agesilaos »

It would be extraordinarily inept as Amyntas was clearly not ready for his coup, as far as the sources go; and that is a common observation with Alexander's death, the conspirators were not ready to take the power they were allegedly plotting to sieze. Brutus et al, Cassius Chaerea and co, both had ready made, if fantastic, programmes ready, most later Roman assassinations have an emperor in the wings, Nerva, Pertinax Alexander Severus and others were all lined up to succeed and did so relatively smoothly. Most ancient conspiracies had an exit plan.

I agree with the honour killing angle, but it is a dull plot for a thriller if done straight; who, what, where, how and why are all pretty obvious from the get go, the only mystery would be where is the mystery?
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Re: "Murder in Babylon" by Graham Phillips

Post by Alexias »

Needs a psychological thriller à la Hamlet of someone screwing themselves up to the sticking point and damn the consequences. Pausanias clearly thought his personal autonomy outweighed the needs of the state. This would seem to show a limit to the power of the Macedonian kings in that every man thought they had the same rights as he did, his person was not sacrosanct, and that every man felt they had the right to choose if a man did not deserve to remain as king. But who succeeded him was not their problem.
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